The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has sanctioned Russia with a four-year ban from all major sporting events, including the 2020 Olympics and the 2022 World Cup.
The governing body’s executive committee agreed upon the decision at a meeting in Switzerland. It means that Russian athletes won’t be able to represent their home nation at events, they will however be able to compete under a neutral flag at the event, so long as they can prove they are clean.
The decision was made following a January ruling that saw WADA deem the Russian Anti Doping Agency as being non-compliant, over the distribution and alleged tampering of laboratory samples.
Given the implications of the ruling, the country is highly likely to appeal the decision, a process that it has 21 days to embark on.
The ban won’t hinder the country’s place at the upcoming Euro 2020 Championships, with St Petersburg having already been declared as one of a plethora of European host cities for the landmark tournament.
WADA President Sir Craig Reedie issued the following statement: “The ExCo’s strong decision today shows WADA’s determination to act resolutely in the face of the Russian doping crisis, thanks to the Agency’s robust investigatory capability, the vision of the CRC, and WADA’s recently acquired ability to recommend meaningful sanctions via the Compliance Standard which entered into effect in April 2018. Combined, these strengths have enabled the ExCo to make the right decisions at the right time.
“For too long, Russian doping has detracted from clean sport. The blatant breach by the Russian authorities of RUSADA’s reinstatement conditions, approved by the ExCo in September 2018, demanded a robust response.
“That is exactly what has been delivered today. Russia was afforded every opportunity to get its house in order and re-join the global anti-doping community for the good of its athletes and of the integrity of sport, but it chose instead to continue in its stance of deception and denial.
“As a result, the WADA ExCo has responded in the strongest possible terms, while protecting the rights of Russian athletes that can prove that they were not involved and did not benefit from these fraudulent acts.
“On behalf of the ExCo, and of the many WADA stakeholders that supported the CRC recommendation, I would like to thank the members of the CRC for their expert and considered recommendation, as well as WADA I&I and the forensic experts for their skill, diligence and perseverance in getting to the bottom of this highly complex case.”